KCET’s website today launched an online documentary about Highland Park. A new segment of the online series – which includes personal views of today’s Highland Park and pieces on neighborhood history – will be unveiled every Monday through November 21 as part of the station’s Departures program. This week’s segment, titled The Highlands, explains a bit about how the once independent City of Highland Park became part of the City of Los Angeles:
Faced with difficulty accessing water and an increased need for police presence in a rowdy red light district, Highland Park was annexed to the city of Los Angeles in 1895, creating one of the first suburbs. Situated along the Arroyo Seco below the San Gabriel Mountains, the area provided a respite from downtown city life that combined easy access to natural amenities, open space, and the center of the city.
Situated between what were then the county’s two largest population centers – Los Angeles and Pasadena – Highland Park provided commuters with convenient transportation options. With the establishment of colleges and art communities, soon the rustic community along the Arroyo became a hub for intellectual life.
Although older bedroom communities had been established in the region prior to Highland Park – Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights, and Angelino Heights to name a few – its annexation created what was the first true expansion of the city, Los Angeles absorbing the unincorporated town to expand from its original 28 square miles.